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February 4, 2010

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Hong Kong gets new high point

VICTORIA Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong at 552 meters, will not be the only place with a smashing view of Victoria Harbor in the daytime and the glittering lights of the metropolis at night.

When it opens to the public in October, the observation deck on the 100th floor of International Commerce Center (ICC), Hong Kong's tallest skyscraper-to-be, promises another glorious view. The deck will be 393 meters above sea level in the 118-floor, 484-meter structure.

The building is part of the ongoing Kowloon Station project in Hong Kong's West Kowloon area, featuring commercial and residential buildings, culture and recreational facilities.

Like other world-renowned observation decks of its kind, such as the Taipei 101 Observatory and Shanghai's Sky Walk 100 in the Shanghai World Financial Center in Pudong, the new Hong Kong attraction will have advanced facilities such as lifts that whisk visitors from the second to the 100th floor in 60 seconds. It will also feature fancy multimedia exhibits showcasing Hong Kong's history and culture.

Visitors can use advanced telescopes and audio-visual guided tours in four languages to check the major local attractions, a good starting point for first-time visitors.

"Every year, Hong Kong receives nearly 30 million visitors, many of whom would love to enjoy the city's spectacular harbor view from various vantage points," says James Tien, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

"The observation deck of ICC, as a new option, will bring visitors a different experience of Hong Kong together with other nearby facilities in Kowloon Station," he says.

The deck will be complemented by international fine dining restaurants on the 101st floor. Another attraction is the spacious, high-end shopping complex Elements (far less crowded than other major shopping destinations) and the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. It is expected to be the world's tallest hotel (until the record topples), occupying the top 15 floors of the ICC tower.

An international contest is underway to come up with a name for the observation deck, in Chinese or English. It should be emblematic, memorable and have a touch of local flair.

The winners will get a free trip to Hong Kong to be the first to visit the ICC observation deck. Travel packages include round-trip air fare for two and two nights' accommodation. Winners will visit observation decks in Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.

Entries should be submitted by March 5 through the Website


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